I’m not even sure where to start with this cake. This was my grandma’s famous cake. I’ve heard about it over and over from the time I was little … and yet only vaguely remember trying it once. And I’m not even 100% positive if it was “the cake.” Just some small memory from a family party.
When my grandma passed away this past Christmas, one of the thoughts that constantly went through my mind was that I wished I had gotten the chance to bake with her. By the time I had really become more interested in baking, she wasn’t able to anymore. Since she died, I’ve been trying to collect some of her recipes and was so happy when another family member passed this cake recipe along to me.
I remember laughing out loud the first time I read through the recipe – as with so many family or older recipes, the instructions can be kinda vague. I’ve reworked it just a tad, to make it a little more user-friendly, if you will. I also used fresh peaches instead of canned, since those aren’t really my style. But otherwise, this cake is just like the one my grandma made. And that makes me happy.
This is definitely a different type of cake. Made completely with graham cracker crumbs, the cake itself is pretty sweet. It’s balanced out nicely by the fresh peaches and lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Here’s hoping that your family loves this as much as mine.
- 4 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs*
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 medium-large peaches, sliced
- To make the cake - preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the edges of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Set aside. With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl and set aside as well.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and butter. Cream on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the egg yolks and beat until combined. Next, add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add in ⅓ of the graham cracker crumb mixture. Next add in ½ of the milk, then another ⅓ of the graham cracker crumbs. Add in the rest of the milk and then the rest of the graham cracker crumbs and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter evenly in the three prepared pans and use a spatula to smooth. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, before turning out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting - add the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start with the mixer on low speed, then increase to medium high. Whip until stiff peaks form.
- To assemble - place one of the cake layers, top side down, onto a serving platter. Spread with a generous amount of whipped cream. Arrange some of the peach slices in a circle around the cake. Place another cake layer on top and repeat (whipped cream, peaches). Place the third cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream. Garnish the top of the cake with peach slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve (if you refrigerate the cake for at least several hours, it is much easier to slice).
*To get the 4 ½ cups of the graham cracker crumbs, process 1 entire box, plus 7 whole sheets of graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor until fine.